Industry News

Government Requests For User Data Rise 24% in First Half of 2014, Facebook Says

Government requests for Facebook user data rose to 34,946 in the first half of 2014, an increase of 24 percent compared to the same period of last year, Facebook said in a press release.

Facebook also restricted 19 per cent more content due to local laws in several countries.

Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Fight for Data Transparency

“We scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests,” said Chris Sonderby, Facebook’s deputy general counsel.

The US government made the highest amount of requests, with over 15,000. The Indian and German governments came second and third with over 4,500 and 2,500 in the first half of 2014.

Facebook also challenged bulk search warrants issued by a New York court that requested personal data of nearly 400 users, by far the largest request so far in the US.

“We’ve argued that these overly broad warrants violate the privacy rights of the people on Facebook and ignore constitutional safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures,” Sonderby said. “Despite a setback in the lower court, we’re aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized.”

Facebook also noted that it would continue seeking reform of transparency and surveillance practices.

The report comes shortly after the newly appointed director of UK GCHQ agency, Robert Hannigan accused US companies such as Facebook of aiding terrorists due to their privacy approach when it comes to handing over data.

About the author

Lucian Ciolacu

Still the youngest Bitdefender News writer, Lucian is constantly after flash news in the security industry, especially when something is vulnerable or exploited. Besides digging for 'hacker' scoops and data leaks, he enjoys sports, such as football and tennis.
He has also combined an interest for social and political sciences, as a graduate of the Political Science Faculty, with a passion for guitar and computer games.